How did you get paid by a dubious client?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by NickD, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    OK, this is tread from another thread.

    As a result of a post I just made, I was thinking about what I had to do to get paid by criminal clients who didn't want to pay for a service honestly rendered. I say criminal, because when I provided a musical service and someone refuses to pay me the agreed upon fee, they have stolen from me - theft.

    OK, I have been stiffed several times. One that comes to mind was when I played a blues recording session in December 2004. The manager of Chicago area blues act booked a trombone, tenor sax and me (trumpet, cornet and bass trumpet). We were in the stdio for several hours and we had to fake parts. Neither the manager or the act had bothered to write anything out. We should have been paid arranging fees, too! In any case we agreed to a very modest buyout fee, as this was a totally independant act. I was there on the recommendation of the tenor player (a buddy of mine). I had a bad feeling, but he vouched for the act and manager.

    The manger had us all sign a "contract" agreeing to pay us within 9 meeks of the session date. I know, I know... I should have split the moment he said '9 weeks,' but, again, my buddy vouched for the guy. I played the session. I even attended the CD release party. Then the waiting began.

    I finally did get paid - February - 2006!!!! Here's what I had to do.

    I did call the manger several times. Each time I was met with a tale of personal woe - divorce, bills, rough life in general, CD sales not up to scratch, blah blah blah... I finally quit calling and resinged myself to the fact that I was stiffed.

    I finally got ticked off when the tenor player told me that the guy stiffed him for TWO sessions! I went to the acts website and found the CD for sale, with my name on it, my name all over the web site, etc. So I emailed the manager with the following promise:

    I was going to get a lawyer (my WIFE - an attorney with an agenda on my behalf!) and sue him and force him to destroy all CD's with my name on it, since he had not honored his end of the deal. I informed him that I could, under the circumstances afford the leagl fees and hassle. I then explained that the legal fees he would be facing would be FAR greater then the payment I was due. He accused me of being mean spirited and that all I had to do was ask (never mind the fact that I DID ask, several times, and he didn't pay). He then paid me. He even paid me $20 extra! Whoaaaa...

    This should be the last time I get taken like this.

    I was once stiffed by a well known Chicago area dance act for a wedding ceremony. Only legal threats got me some of the bread. That was a hassle as I had several guys booked on the gig. The troubles began with a disgruntled organist deliberately trying to sabotage the gig - showing up late, mis-cueing the brass, etc...

    Another time I got stiffed on over time by a mononinc client who hired a ten piece brass group with percussion to play an equine event. He was standing on a hill over 300 meters away and was communicating to me via a walkie talke. He was ticked that the band didn't sound great where he was. Hell, the idiot was standing in a field 300 meters away! The CSO would have sounded a bit weird all the over there! He kept us there an hour later than contracted and then refused to pay me the OT. I had to pay the guys their due out of pocket.

    The funniest time was at a mafia wise-guys birthday party. I had a ten piece dance band booked for this birthday party. I didn't realize the guest of honor was a local wiseguy until I got to the gig. It was, daunting. We finished the gig, and the party was a big success. Believe me, there was NO DOUBT what I was into when I started the gig. My band was bugging me about what the hell I had gotten them into. Many, Chicago city musicians, were very savy as to what was up. I was uptight. to put it mildly.

    Here is a dialog of my trying to deal with potential overitme and close out the contract, get paid and get out! I will use the name Paul Vitti from the Billy Crystal movie, "Analyze This," instead of the actual name for two reasons; I can't remember the name off the top of my head and I don't want to get blown away! ;-)

    Here it is:

    Scenario: I am talking to the host who has motioned for several BIG scary guys to surrond me on the dance floor.

    ND: "Well, we've covered our contracted time. The party is going strong! Would you be interested in keeping the band for another half-hour or so?"
    Host: "You right! Da party's jumpin'! Mr. Vitti would like youse guys to play for anudder hour."
    ND: "Great! I just want to remind you of the contracted OT rate of..."
    Host: "I don't think you understood me. Mr VITTI would like youse to PLAY for anudder hour! Clear? We don't need no f-----g contract, do we?"
    At this point the several big thugs close in around ND, menacingly.
    ND: "Ummmm, yes! No problem! I understand! Mr VITTI would like us to play for another hour! Great!"
    Now the big thugs give a sharp slap on the back of ND and skulk off chuckling.

    I played the OT, collected the bread for the gig, cash of course and for the original three hours only. The ot was not on the check. I paid the OT out of my end, and was glad! Gig over!

    OK, your turn! Got any payment horror stories?

    Heh, heh!

    Have fun.

    Nick
     
  2. beartrumpet74

    beartrumpet74 Pianissimo User

    197
    0
    Jan 17, 2006
    Hey Nick!
    If you want. I have a conract for musical service that has been looked at by a lawyer. It is in word format, so I could email it to you if you like. I have found that people are much less likely to stiff you if they have signed a contract. The only person I don't make sign on, is the local owner of a jazz club in town here. his label did my record, and I figure he is trustworthy, but everyone else...must sign on the line.
    If you want the contract just pm me with your email, and I will send it along tonight. It would be easy to change the names in word format for your needs
    Peace
    Matt
     
  3. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Age:
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    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    Nick,

    I've been stiffed twice -- both times by the same church.

    The first time they paid me the wrong amount. I went back and returned the check and they apologized saying they would have a new check ready for me the next day.

    I went back to be told that all the musicians had been paid Sunday. I never received a new check, or the old one back.

    That same church called to hire me the next year. I told the musical director what had happened the year prior and he said he would get me double this year. I said no. He called me back and offered me double and an extra $50 due to the misunderstanding the year before. I accepted but made it clear that I was to be paid before the service.

    I got to the service -- no check. Hmmmmm....... Do I walk, or do I play and make everyone's Easter Sunday a little nicer? I chose to play. Can you imagine the bad name you would get for walking out on a church on Easter Sunday?

    After the job the music director told us the checks would be sent out Monday. You know what comes next -- no check ever came.

    That was many years ago, and the members of that ensemble (some of the better players in town) have spread the word about the non-payment by that church. To this day they can't hire anyone but high school kids because the area pros will not play there.
     
  4. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Hmmmmmmmm

    Hey Bear!

    Thanks, man! I'm cool with the contracts. The folks who stiffed me on the band leader gigs were "immune" to contracts. I HAD a good contract with each of them. A contract, even a well written one, is only as good as your readiness to sue someone over it. In retrospect, I would take a bigger deposit these days. As to the wiseguy gig, well, I just didn't want a contract put out on me! ;-)

    Bandman! A CHURCH did that to you? On EASTER? How Christian is that? Not very, imho. You did the stand up thing, man, and you deserve much more than that sort of treatment. I'd look for a different church this, year, if I were you, but that 's up to you, ultimately. My guess is that there are other churches that see the Christian value of honesty and integrity - lot's of 'em.

    Have a better one this year!

    ND
     
  5. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    373
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    Nov 29, 2003
    AL
    I don't know how it is elsewhere, but the churches that used to put out pretty good bread for Easter, Christmas, Reformation Sunday, etc. have just about quit hiring. These are the bigger churches in town and many of them have gone to in-house orchestras or have enough players in their congregation to do it. If you get a call, it's more than likely to be from a smaller church wanting you to play along with the piano or organ for $50 or $100. Take what you can get, huh?
     
  6. KMT

    KMT Pianissimo User

    162
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    Nov 23, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Re: Hmmmmmmmm

    This is why you should have your contracts on file with the union. That way, they will take care of getting the money.
     
  7. KMT

    KMT Pianissimo User

    162
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    Nov 23, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Absolutely not. Do not accept the gigs that pay $50 or $100, that will only begin to solidify the notion that that is an acceptable wage.
     
  8. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    373
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    Nov 29, 2003
    AL
    This thread probably isn't the place for this (my apologies for making my first off-topic post), but you can see my reasoning on the other thread about when people say your offer is too much. In short, in MY town, the $50 or $100 gig churches can afford ONLY that much. If they try to pay more, than A) fewer or NO people get hired, or B) You don't get to play.
     
  9. RG111

    RG111 Piano User

    331
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    Nov 12, 2003
    I have only been stiffed once, and that was a union gig so, they were listed for some time in the defaulters section of the musicians union paper. We never were paid however. It was a full orchestra playing lush orchestrations of hymns for a 300 voice choir made up of local church choirs. PLUS, they cancelled an out-of-town production that they had already booked. That was over thirty years ago, and it still steams me!

    Roy Griffin
     
  10. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Age:
    111
    1,061
    53
    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    Re: Hmmmmmmmm

    I play the same jobs every year now and I'm the guy who hires the extra musicians. We always get paid prior to the gig, and we don't have to negotiate -- they give us a rais eevery year!
     

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